Wednesday, June 18, 2008
South Africa Part 3
9 June 2008 Monday
After our placements today 4 of us were able to hike up Table Mountain. We took the Platteklip Gorge trail to the 1000m top point. We had fantastic weather and therefore had beautiful views up and down. It is winter here so the sun sets around 6:00. We were still hiking down close to the sun set which made for great night views of the city, but I was about to pull out my headlamp.. We got down and picked up one of the last cabs back to town and had a great dinner at Mojo's.
10 June 2008 Tuesday
Today at Blossom Street I was able to talk more with Teacher Adams and we picked out a subject area that I could teach. We decided a phonics lesson would helpful for the learners. I went home that evening and planned for the lesson, trying to keep in mind a stellar teaching point for the kids, but also something that could help hold the kids accountable for their own learning. It was strange to plan for a lesson with my trusty Fountas and Pinnell books close by!
11 June 2008 Wednesday
I was excited to get ready for school knowing I was going to teach a lesson. The lesson went well and I used an ice cream cone rubric to help the learners gauge their level of working.
The ice cream cone rubric went over so well, the next day Teacher Adams came to school with her very own ice cream cone rubric that she called the, "Katie Cone." That afternoon three of us from the house went on a ride to see some sights south of Cape Town.
We started out of Cape Town and headed south down the M6. Our first stop was Sandy Bay Beach, which is where the picture of Bec, Erin and I was taken. We then continued to Hout Bay and over the Chapman's Peak drive, which has been closed in the past due to rock falls.
The weather started to clear and we went to Boulders Beach, which is home to many African penguins. Then it was back North through Simon's Town, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and we stopped for a drink in St. James.
12 June 2008 Thursday
We had a great lunch at Biesmiellah. It was in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood and served Cape Malay and Indian food. We had delicious pienang curry, a beef cutlet stew prepared with bay leaves. The Bo-Kaap neighborhood was home to the city's Muslim population in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The streets have cobbled lanes and there are many colorful flat roof houses.
We then loaded the buses to head up to Noon Gun. It is a cannon fired from the lower slopes of Signal Hill. People still set their watch to the cannon fire.
Our final stop of the day was at the Slave Lodge, where we saw the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin. The Slave Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in South Africa, dating back to 1660. The lodge was home to as many as 1000 slaves until 1811.
13 June 2008 Friday
The last full weekend here in Cape Town. Bec, Amanda, Jack, Neil and I headed out of town for the Garden Route. The Garden Route is a 208km (130 mile) stretch from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth. We loaded up the Nissan Tida and headed east toward our first stop, Plattenberg Bay. We spent the night at a fantastic bed and breakfast called South Cross Beach House. It was right on the water and great waking up to hear and see the ocean!
14 June 2008 Saturday
After eating breakfast leisurely we planned our activities for the day. We decided to try sea kayaking, but not before we took a cool, quick dip into the Indian Ocean!
While kayaking we were able to see lots of dolphins that swam just a couple feet from our boats.
That afternoon we went for a hike down to the Robberg Nature and Marine Protected Area. It was then time to drive to our next stop for the night, Knysna. We stayed at the Inyathi Guest Lodge which was a very different experience, it is supposed to represent a traditional African village. That evening we went out to an interesting bar called Zanzibar, which seemed to be the place for just about anyone in town regardless of age to spend their Saturday night.
15 June 2008 Sunday
Today we went for a nice 7km hike called Elephant Walk. Unfortunately there were no elephants, but we did get some exercise which was nice. After the hike it was time for the 5 hour drive home, it was my turn to drive and it took a little while to get used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road.
16 June 2008 Monday
Today was a National Holiday called Youth Day. It is a day to remember the youth killed while protesting the unfair school system set up by the apartheid government in 1976. In addition to the day off we also had the Tida rental car for one more day so Bec, Amanda and I decided to make the most of it. We got up pretty early and went to Stellenbosch for some wine tasting. After a great breakfast at Mugg and Bean, we went to our first winery, Blaauwklippen. For about 30 Rand, or $4 USD you can taste 5 wines and keep the glass. Our next stop was Kleine Zalze followed by Avontuur. Blaawklippen was our favorite by far and before we left for Cape Town, we drove back to purchase a couple bottles to bring home!
17 June 2008 Tuesday
It was back to school today, as well as the start of the final week of volunteering in Cape Town. We went to the District 6 museum after our placements. This museum was built to teach others about a multicultural neighborhood that was destroyed during the apartheid Nationalist government. Later that evening, Themba came to perform at our house. He is part of an organization called, Institute for Healing of Memories, which is a trust which, "seeks to contribute to the healing journey of individuals, communities and nations. " We were able to hear some great music which he played from a traditional African instrument made out of a gourd.
18 June 2008 Wednesday
Every Wednesday at school a couple of the teachers bring food for everyone to share during the first interval, or break. We had a great meal of tuna casserole and yogurt bread.
After school, we had a great South African barbecue, or braai, at Mzoli's Meat. There was plenty of food and an African rendition of Amazing Grace!
We also made a quick trip up to the University of Cape Town this afternoon. The school is set on the base of Table Mountain and has great views. The school was pretty quite because the students are on break, but it was fun to look around.
Time goes by so fast... I am in Cape Town until early Saturday morning and then I head off for some traveling on my own, it will be quite a change after living with 17 people for the past 3 weeks. Hope you are doing well, and I love reading your comments!